Proud day ahead for stalwart Whatling

AMATEUR Neil Whatling has achieved more in his footballing career than many professionals.The Framlingham Town midfielder has won a cup final at Wembley Stadium, and also enjoyed success at Anfield, the home of Premiership giants Liverpool.

By Elvin King

AMATEUR Neil Whatling has achieved more in his footballing career than many professionals.

The Framlingham Town midfielder has won a cup final at Wembley Stadium, and also enjoyed success at Anfield, the home of Premiership giants Liverpool.

Tonight his 22-year spell with Metaltec SIL First Division club Framlingham is rewarded with a testimonial against Ipswich Town at Badingham Road (kick-off 7.30pm).


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Whatling, who will be 30 on Sunday, joined Framlingham at the age of eight and has stayed loyal despite the opportunity to play for clubs in the Ridgeons League.

He was an important member of the Earl Soham Victoria side that won the Carlsberg Pub Cup in 2000, winning a semi-final at Anfield and the final at Wembley - just weeks before Ipswich Town won their First Division play-off final against Barnsley.

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Whatling played a few midweek games for Stowmarket Town in the Ridgeons League, but otherwise has remained in the SIL.

“Neil is an excellent role model,” said Dennis Tattoo, who has been Framlingham manager since 2000.

“In an era of decreasing loyalty, Neil has been a beacon of commitment. He has passed up the opportunity many times to move on and make chunks of money with clubs in higher leagues.

“He is a super person respected by both team-mates and opponents and very modest with it.”

Whatling's father Keith was on Ipswich Town's books before playing for Exeter City, while his mother Fiona has been Framlingham secretary for 34 years.

Ipswich are expected to field a young side, and 10 years ago when Framlingham's stand was opened they included the likes of Richard Wright, Richard Naylor, James Scowcroft and Mauricio Taricco in a special game.

Three years ago, when the current Framlingham floodlights were unveiled, Lewis Price was in the Town team.

Tattoo added: “George Burley and then Joe Royle turned up as managers in previous matches against Ipswich, and we hope to see Jim Magilton this time.”

Part of the proceeds from the night will go to a charity selected by Whatling, a self employed builder. A mini-tournament for under-eights starts at 6.30pm and there will be a youths' penalty competition at the interval.

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